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Ericsson predicts swift end for Wi-Fi hotspots

By Stuart Turton

Posted on 10 Mar 2008 at 14:20

The rapid growth of mobile broadband is set to make Wi-Fi hotspots irrelevant, according to an Ericsson executive.

"Hotspots at places like Starbucks are becoming the telephone boxes of the broadband era," claimed Ericsson's chief marketing officer Johan Bergendahl, speaking to delegates at the European Computer Audit, Control and Security Conference in Stockholm.

"In Austria they are saying that mobile broadband will pass fixed broadband this year. It's already growing faster, and in Sweden, the most popular phone is a USB modem," Bergendahl claimed, according to ComputerWorld.

Bergendahl pointed to a couple of significant factors in the future growth of mobile broadband, including the price, which is as low as 20 euros per month in Austria, Denmark and Sweden.

He also highlighted the increasing tendency of manufacturers to build High Speed Packet Access (HSPA) into their laptops, pointing specifically to Lenovo, which uses Ericsson's HSPA technology.

However, he admitted challenges remain for mobile broadband. "Industry will have to solve the international roaming issue," he said. "Carriers need to work together. It can be as simple as paying 10 euros per day when you are abroad."

He also pointed to a lack of coverage as a potential hindrance to the growth of the technology.

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